Air Force Airman 1st Class Bryant Vides-Perlera pulls chocks beside an RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft as it’s towed across the flightline at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Oct. 23, 2020. The RQ-4 measures 47 feet in length and has a wingspan of over 130 feet. Loaded with a payload, it can weigh in excess of 32,000 pounds.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk is produced by Northrop Grumman. It’s a high-altitude surveillance aircraft that served in a similar capacity to the U-2 spy plane. It’s equipped with high-res SAR (synthetic aperture radar) and long-range electro-optical/infrared sensors with long loiter times over target areas. It can cover 40,000 square miles a day, an areas about the size of Iceland.

Variants of the RQ-4are used by the Air Force and NATO allies while highly specialized versions of the UAV are operated by NASA for monitoring hurricanes and tropical storms.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting our Veteran Editorial by becoming a SOFREP subscriber. Click here to get 3 months of full ad-free access for only $1 $29.97.